07/06/2015 10:54AM

Fornatale: Brantley gets over the goal line in BCQualify


Regular tournament player Amy Brantley has had a lot of close calls in contests in 2015 -- she's finished in the top 10 percent in NHC qualifying contests six times  -- but she finally hit paydirt on Saturday on BCQualify.com. Brantley topped a field of 120 players and won her way into the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge.

Throughout the 12-race sequence, Brantley managed seven collections including four winners. The longest price among her successful selections was Force the Pass ($22.80), the upset winner of the Belmont Derby. Brantley wins her full $10,000 entry fee and will be one of the players to keep an eye on at Keeneland based on her overall consistency and keen eye for picking winners.

Joining Brantley at the BCBC will be Jeff Hartz and Ken Hopkins. Like Brantley, both men had the longest price in the sequence, Force the Pass. All three qualifiers also backed Havermeyer Street in Gulfstream's 10th, the penultimate race in the sequence.

Havermeyer Street only paid $12.80 but proved key to the contest in part because of the scratches in the anchor leg. In the end, the Belmont Sprint Championship featured a short field with a dominant favorite, meaning players weren't able to make up any significant ground on the leaders.

On Sunday, on NHCQualify.com, three more players won their way into the world's richest handicapping contest, the National Handicapping Championship. Marshall Gramm finished best in the field of 198, followed by William O'Neal and Frank Gryboski Jr., both of whom also qualified to win their share of $2.5 million in Las Vegas.

Gramm got on the scoreboard in the third contest race, backing Film Making and collecting the maximum amount of place points possible. Film Making returned $22.80 to place, but that total was limitied to $22 for contest purposes. Later in the contest, Gramm got hot, picking four winners in a row, including Big Blue Kitten ($10.80) in the United Nations at Monmouth.

O'Neal went on a similiar run late in the tourney, backing the last four winners in a row, highlighted by the winner of the anchor leg, Gulfstream's 12th, Lori's Store ($16.20). Those alone would not have been enough for him to qualify but he had already connected with one winner and one place horse early on in the contest.

Gryboski was consistent right from the beginning. He got off to a hot start, backing the first two chalky winners, but secured his position late with a couple of mid-prices in Favorite Tale ($17) and Big Blue Kitten. He managed a place collection in the last but it didn't matter -- he was well clear of fourth place even without it.

Saturday BCQualify.com

Rank      Name    Total

1              Amy Brantley     $106.60

2              Jeff Hartz             90.40

3              Ken Hopkins       88.60

All three win $10,000 seats to the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge plus $500 travel vouchers.

Sunday NHCQualify.com

Rank      Name    Total

1              Marshall Gramm              $122.60

2              William O'Neal   103

3              Frank Gryboski, Jr            99.40

All three win seats to the National Handicapping Championship,a four-night stay at Treasure Island,and a $500 travel voucher.

Sunday DRFQualify.com

1              Kevin McIntyre $98.90

McIntyre wins a $3,000 seat to the Sept. 19 Gulfstream Park live-bankroll contest, plus $500 in travel.